World Cup 2014: Day 1 Round-Up.

The first day of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup brought plenty of drama, plenty of skills and plenty of goals. Here is a summary of each of the games that took place on day one:

Men’s Pool A: Australia 4-0 Malaysia.

Australia and Korea opened up the Rabobank 2014 World Cup in the Kycoera Stadium in The Hauge. A brace from Glenn Turner and further strikes from Eddie Ockenden and Jamie Dwyer gave the Kookaburras a 4-0 win but it was far from plain sailing. Malaysia defended doggedly throughout and a string of fine saves from Kumar Subramiam in goal had threatened to frustrate Rich Charlesworth’s side until the 25th minute when Turner broke free down the left, before cutting in to coolly beat Subramiam with a neat finish over the goalkeeper’s body.

Kieran Govers and Ockenden wasted good chances to increase the Kookaburras’ lead and Jamie Dwyer struck a post with a snap shot. Ockenden doubled the advantage in the 50th minute with a splendid individual effort, gliding inside from the right away from the attentions of two defenders before firing an unstoppable reverse stick shot past the goalkeeper. Two minutes later, Dwyer made it 3-0. Again it was a splendid solo effort as the five time World Player of the Year drove to the baseline on the right before cutting back inside, adjusting his feet and hitting home an unstoppable shot. Two minutes after that Rich Charlesworth’s side put the gloss on the scoreline with a second for Turner who touched in a Chris Ciriello pass into the circle, leaving Subramiam stranded.

Australia’s Jeremy Hayward, who made his World Cup debut in the match told The Top of the D:

“It’s always important to make a good start. One loss could put you out of contention for the finals so it’s good to get three points on the board and start the tournament with a good win. We weren’t worried we wouldn’t score. We trust our game plan and stick to it and we knew it’d work in the end.”

Women’s Pool A: New Zealand 4-3 Belgium.

New Zealand raced into a 4-0 lead against Belgium but were made to sweat by a spirited second half display from the Belgians who pulled it back to 4-3. Krystal Forgesson netted two goals from penalty corners whilst Anita Punt found the bottom corner with an accurate drag flick to make it 3-0. Kayla Whitelock made it 4-0 following a goalmouth scramble and it looked bleak for the Belgians. However, in the second half the European side grabbed two goals in quick succession from Barbara Nelen and Emilie Sinia and New Zealand began to creak under the pressure, Stephanie de Groof slotted home a penalty stroke in the 55th minute and it was panic stations for the Blacksticks. They called upon their wealth of experience and managed to hold off the challenge of the Red Panthers but it was a little too close for comfort.

New Zealand’s Krystal Forgesson told The Top of the D:

“We started well and our penalty corners worked nicely. We didn’t win any in the second half, though. Belgium came back at us hard and we managed to hold on. We were a little fortunate we took our chances early on.”

Women’s Pool A: Australia 3-2 Korea.

Two goals from Anna Flanagan were enough to give Australia a winning start in Pool A but they were made to work hard for their win by a lively Korean side. Korea’s pace on the break made life very difficult for Australia who fell behind to a sweeping move down the right. Mihyun Park got free and crossed for Eunbi Cheon who slotted home. The lead didn’t last long and   excellent work from Georgie Parker outside the D set up Emily Hurtz to touch in the equaliser. Flanagan was kept out form her first penalty corner chance at the start of the second half but made no mistake with the next one, ripping a drag flick past the goalkeeper into the roof of the net. She then calmly scored from a penalty stroke to make it 3-1 and it looked like it was all over. Korea had other ideas and with seven minutes remaining Seul Ki Cheon beat Rachael Lynch to set up a grandstand finish. Despite some nervy moments the Australians held out and picked up the win.

A relieved Anna Flanagan told The Top of the D: “They put us on the back foot early and we really had to dig in. We’ve beaten them recently and had a really good lead up to the tournament so we knew if we stuck to our processes we knew we could get the result. It was close but it’s the first game and we had a few nerves so it’s good to get a win and then we’ll aim to improve for the next game.”

Men’s Pool A: Belgium 3-2 India.

John-John Dohmen’s late strike ensured Belgium got the three points from their opening game of the tournament. Dohmen struck with seconds left on the clock to break india’s hearts in a hugely entertaining game. PR Sreejesh in the India goal enjoyed an outstanding first half, denying Belgium with some excellent blocks and some very accomplished goalkeeping. He was beaten on the stroke of half time however as Arthur van Doren’s long pass was deftly touched in by a diving Florent van Aubel. India hit back after the break with a close range strike from Mandeep Singh. Six minutes later India took the lead with a stunning goal from Akashdeep Singh who slid in on his knees to deflect the ball beyond Vincent Vanasch. Simon Gougnard pulled Belgium level before Dohmen kept his cool to give Marc Lammers’ side the win.

Men’s Pool A: England 1-1 Spain.

Full match report here.

Women’s Pool A: Netherlands 6-1 Japan.

A hat-trick form Kelly Jonker capped a dominant display from the host nation as they showed the gulf in class and swept aside Japan. Jonker opened the scoring on seven minutes, applying the finishing touch to Ellen Hoog’s cross from the left. She then stabbed home, again from close range after excellent skills and strength form Roos Drost before captain Maartje Paumen added her name to the scoresheet with a low drag flick that found its way through the goalkeeper’s legs. Ellen Hoog notched the fourth in the 39th minute and then Jonker collected her hat-trick after Naomi van As glided around the baseline and pulled the ball back for the No10 who made no mistake. Paumen added her second with a penalty stroke but the last word was Japan’s as Akane Shibata grabbed a consolation five minutes from time.

Eva de Goede, the Dutch No24 told The Top of the D:
“Playing in an arena like this in front of a home crowd is amazing. It’s hard to explain but you can feel the vibe and the energy from the crowd when you’re out there. It makes you want to run faster and try harder for the crowd.

We haven’t looked ahead too far at the rest of the games. We are focused on each game as it comes, so we’ll look at Belgium and try to win that one and see where we are from there.”   

Don’t forget to visit The Top of the D for all the World Cup action over the course of the tournament. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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